Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Fun

A few shots from our week:

Playing the "harp" Eskedar brought us from Ethiopia

"Let's go on a [n]ature walk!"

Ready for the adventure

Maddie enjoys walking the dog these days

Riding the Carousel at Tilden

our buddy Kate was there, too!

Little buddy chilled most of the day

Two very excited (and tired) girls waiting for the steam train

Going through a tunnel


Sisters on the steam train

"Just one more ride?"

Monday, July 27, 2009

open-mouthed grins

Samuel, 4 1/2 months

Maddie, almost 4 months

Now that Sam's here, I find myself remembering little moments from Maddie's infancy as we progress through various milestones. Just this weekend he was rolling and laughing and all smiles as he played outside on his quilt. I grabbed the camera to snap a picture and instantly flashed back to taking this photo of Maddie from May 2007. Two-plus years later, and Sam was even playing with the same toys: the little gym elephant and teething rings!

As I nursed Samuel to sleep last night, I was amazed at his length in my arms and thought of a blog post I wrote about Maddie. I jumped back to find her photo this morning and there was the post, dated June 2007, about the time Maddie turned 5 months. Time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a trip down memory lane

When I was home in Oregon, I rifled through an old box of mine that my parents had labeled, "Becky's dolls." I was looking for my Cabbage Patch dolls to see if Maddie was interested. Little did I know that my parents had saved many items from childhood. It was as if my mom had selected all of my very favorite and most treasured items and placed them together. So I present to you, dear readers, a review of my childhood:

This is Ucky. My grandma Evie made her for me shortly after I was born, modeling her after my own newborn appearance. If I had a picture of myself as a baby I would upload it to demonstrate the accuracy. I was born nine and a half pounds, swollen, pink, with an enormous head of black hair. When I was old enough to talk, so the story goes, they asked me about the doll and I called it "Ucky." Hence my first nickname.

I don't remember much about this doll besides she was in a bunch of pictures of me as a baby. She has rattles in her feet and is soft and smooth and cuddly.

We are now entering the phase known as, "I want to be Laura Ingalls." This doll followed me around everywhere and even was by my bedside when I had the flu, receiving the full impact of my illness. I recounted the story to Maddie, who has since asked many, many times: "You barfed on your doll?"

I don't really remember much about this doll, but she probably came along during the Laura phase as well.

Now, who could forget Barbie and Ken? Here she is in her red pleather pants, he lounging around in striped pajama bottoms. I only had one Ken so he had to be the good guy and bad guy in every adventure. I think pajama-bottom-Ken is pretty harmless.

And here they are in my pink Barbie convertible! Vrrooom! The wheels used to emit the sound of acceleration but, alas, no longer. At least they still look cool.

And who could forget the Barbie horse? Doesn't every girl go through a horse phase? Mine just happened to overlap with the Barbie phase. This beautiful brunette is outfitted in her turquoise spandex exercise unitard. Yum.

Up close, you'll see that she's been crying. Her eyeliner is smudged from late-night weeping. Maybe because Ken is with the blonde?

I'll just refer to these two as the unfortunate recipients of my early salon attempts, aka Haircut Barbie and Facial Barbie. Lets all be glad I didn't become an aesthetician.

Here's Karleen, my first Cabbage Patch Kid. She's donning a little number hand sewn by my Grandma Evie.

Last but certainly not least, my Strawberry Shortcake belt. 'Nuf said. Awesome.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Maddie: 30 Months

My Dear Two-Year Old,

Why did you have to go and become two? Literally and figuratively. You are smart and engaging and funny and talkative. You are also stubborn and willful and frustrating and independent and stubborn (oh, I mentioned that one twice). The third year of your life, this one we're currently experiencing, has been one of the most challenging I've dealt with yet.

But challenging is good, in many ways. Your non-stop questions make me think about things more carefully and your intolerance for short answers make me elaborate more clearly. You can keep us awake for hours on a long car trip with your non-stop chatter. Independence is a good thing when it comes to getting dressed, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, helping with the baby, feeding the dog and doing housework. I'm growing as a mom as I learn new ways to engage you. I'm growing as a person as you challenge me to be ever patient, understanding, thorough, and to live as a good role model. Your eyes see everything, your ears hear every word. Lord help me.

On vacation we stayed a few days in Seaside, where there is a carousel. You rode the carousel ever day. The face you made when that carousel started spinning was one of pure joy. Your eyes opened wider than I've ever seen. Your face stretched into the biggest open-mouthed smile. You laughed and screamed with delight. It was incredible. You face each new adventure with such glowing anticipation, such courage.

We also went with the whole family to the Oregon Zoo, where you got to ride your first school bus. You led us all in a jubilant rendition of "The Wheels on the Bus." The driver was smitten from your first greeting "...move on back..." You couldn't help from peeking around the seats at all your family seated around, smiling and taking it all in. We couldn't help but gaze in awe at what a big girl you're becoming as you announced "I'll be going to school in September."

"I can do it myself!" These words punctuate our days with their jarring, assured tone. And you can. The playground is completely yours, and you dominate the structures with your long, lean frame and go higher, faster and further than I believe you can. At dinner tonight your dad remarked how you have completely changed in how you relate to us, like you've gained a year in just a few weeks. You desire to be a part of every conversation, butting in with "Excuse me..." to raise a point or simply to say, "I love you." I am doing less and less as you do more and more. I'm less needed, less wanted, less involved.

But then you'll go and surprise me, waking up in the morning and calling my name like the little baby who once sang from her crib. You'll climb into my lap to cuddle and kiss my neck with your warm, sticky lips. We are at a crossroads; my baby becomes a girl. My heart warms each time you are sweet to your brother, every time you wipe some drool from his lips or substitute a toy to make him happy. You sing songs and dance and do the hula and use long words in complicated thoughts.

With each passing day, I understand you more and appreciate you for everything you are: both the fun and the challenging. Thank you for allowing me to have a front seat to the change that is occurring. I can't wait to see what comes next.

I love you, sweet girl.


Samuel: 4 Months

Hey little buddy,

You're already four months old, and making our lives so much fun! You have entered, as Kelly refers to it, the "Dream Baby" stage. You are fun, sweet, cute, engaging and a joy to be around! You still take naps in your car seat and are fairly immobile which makes it easy to take you places. On top of it all, you are quite the flirt, making friends everywhere we go.

You are changing so fast, learning new tricks and sounds and faces each day. In one month you started really laughing, rolled from front to back, got your first haircut (and lots of new hair), met your great-grandparents and some amazing cousins, and took your first tractor ride.Whew, what a list!

They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but we just returned from a trip to visit family where you hardly laid on the floor, simply because you are such a delightful, snuggly boy and no one wants to put you down! Grammy and Papa couldn't believe what an easygoing, cuddly, sweet little bear you are, even with your Mama's nonstop bragging. What they got to experience firsthand over the past few weeks is what I am fortunate to wake up to each day. You are such a wonderful baby and we just can't get enough of you, plain and simple.

You've learned to grab for things and bring them straight to your mouth. Most of the time this isn't a problem but when your sister left a dryer sheet on your swing tray you got quite the surprise! That's a flavor you don't taste every day! You love to play on the floor, sit up on laps, stand up, play peek-a-boo, and be tickled under the chin. You an your big sister are smitten with each other and if you aren't smiling or cooing at her, she's fawning over you, "Oh my very best buddy!"

I am shameless when it comes to getting a smile or a giggle, talking in insanely high voices and tickling you until you've laughed and laughed. My eyes still well up a little each time you give a big, warm smile and coo. Even today you had the loan document notary grinning from ear to ear and completely losing her train of thought. You are one sweet boy.

A few weeks ago, your Dada commented on my left bicep, which is noticeably bigger than my right. He wondered for a few moments before moving his gaze to your full frame. "Oh, " he said, "I get it." You weigh in at 18 pounds, gaining weight at a rate which will put you at triple your birth weight long before you turn one year. You are a fabulous eater and I greatly enjoy our nursing time. You've started to be easily distracted, and will pull off to smile or coo in my direction. We could spend hours on the couch, just "talking," me covering you with kisses.

You've made our lives so much richer and more meaningful. You are delightful and inquisitive and engaging and the. smiliest. boy. ever. Ever. Thanks for letting me share in who you are, each and every day!